• Cecile Espinasse occupation! 

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    Posted: 21 April 2020

    Occupation does not only refer to the usage of physical space. It means using space for protest or as instrument for activism and change on a personal and societal level. It also refers to a way of being immersed in ones work or a topic that occupies not only our minds but even our lifestyle. We are constantly the occupier and the occupied, consciously and unconsciously. The initiative 'Occupy Baltan' has grown into an organic word of mouth community, where we explore and challenge each other to discuss and organise ideas based on "current occupations".

    In the coming weeks we will introduce our occupants to you.

    Cecile’s occupation of Baltan is quite physical. She equipped Baltans lab-space with a printing press and plants that she regularly collects in the city. Since she worked as a green-worker in Eindhoven, Cecile developed a fascination for everything that grows in our streets. She is specially into the wild and untamed vegetation (onkruid/weeds). Via culinary and graphical means she tries to create knowledge about those unwanted living forms and highlight their values so that citizens can find pleasure and appreciation looking at them.

    She would be happy to welcome you at one of her ‘flat_friday satisfactory eating and printing session’ where, together with artist Sixtine Blandin, she can teach you some carving/printing techniques and feed you very unique and local recipes.
    Flat_friday is an open collective founded by Sixtine and Cécile, that seeks to make room for free exploration and conviviality. Plant-lover or not, you are invited to dive into the kitchen of urban vegetation and try yourself out at the printing press.
    When they are not eating and printing, Sixtine and Cécile are discovering and cooking with forgotten vegetables in the special garden of Heerlijk Hopveld in Gemeert. You can learn about their findings on the Facebook of Heerlijk Hopveld, or by joining on a friday session (they often bring leftovers!).

    Currently these meetings are hold via video conference. Feel free to contact Cecile if you want to join.

    Cécile is not only occupying Baltan Laboratories. Actually, it is almost like occupying is the only way that she works. Like an artist in residence, she spends time, immerse in and “occupy” specific contexts, binding there with people that are quite different from her and ‘sweetly disturbing their routine’. Both her and the people get changed through this unexpected encounter.

    Her last immersion was with the green-workers of Ergon, the ones who do the maintenance of public spaces in Eindhoven. She asked if she could become their intern for one day, and then stayed longer. Although cleaning is part of the job, she discovered that the green workers mainly do gardening, taking care of the numerous public owned plants in the city, and that they know a lot about them! Unfortunately their current contract does not make space for them to use or share their knowledge ; their tasks are dictated by a national « quality catalogue » that shows how nature should look like in the city, whatever the situation, in a sort of never ending struggle against nature’s rhythm to make it fit standards.

    Discovering the world of the green-workers gave her 2 directions :
    1) develop that growing fascination for plants that nourishes her work at Baltan
    2) try and change the contract of the green workers so that they can become neighbourhood gardeners : local experts who are the link between citizens and the nature in their street. She received the social design talent award 2019 from the municipality regarding that project, and is currently working on its development.

    Cecile is also occupying a flat in Amsterdam Nieuw West, due to her current work at Cascoland. Together with the Cascoland team she tries to connect with the citizens of that neighborhood and facilitate their participation in public life. Cecile is quite happy to work part time in Cascoland because it involves a lot of things that interests her: food, urban gardening, and handcrafts, all of those being mediums for personal and collective empowerment in the neighbourhood.

    facebook + instagram : flat_friday
    contact: info@cecileespinasse.eu


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